Renato Zanella

Renato Zanella is a native of Verona, where he also received his first dance education before moving to the Rosella Hightower Centre de Danse International in Cannes, where he com-pleted his studies. In 1982, he joined the Basler Ballet, then directed by Heinz Spoerli, and in 1985, accepted the engagement of the Stuttgart Ballet. Following the series of his successful creations for the company (Die andere Seite, Triptychon, Stati d’animo, Empty Place, Black Angels, Man im Schatten and Mata Hari), its artistic director Marcia Haydée appointed him Choreographer-in-Residence in 1993. This marked the beginning of his thriving internation-al career that led to further commissions for many renowned companies around the world: the National Ballet in Istanbul, Les Ballet de Monte-Carlo, Royal Swedish Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Berlin Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, Croatian National Ballet, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Teatro de San Carlo in Naples, San Francisco Ballet, etc. In 1995, he was appointed Ballet Director and Chief Choreographer at the Vienna State Opera, where he stayed until 2005. In his ten-year term, he presented to the audience around forty of his original choreographies, ranging from short pieces to full-length evening performances (Wolfgang Amadé, Nutcracker Strauss' Cinderella, Spartacus) and one-act works (Alles Waltzer, Rite of Spring, Bolero, Renard (or The Fox) and Petrushka). Zanella transformed the Vienna Ballet Company into a self-reliant and exceptional ensemble capable of casting its dancers even for the most demanding roles and thus meeting the challenges of the great-est choreographers of the time. The company thus presented works by such great choreogra-phers as Kylian, van Manen, Forsythe, Neumeier, Balanchine, McMillan, Right and Ashton and also the works from somewhat more classical ballet repertoire by Petipa and Nureyev. The ballet lovers particularly appreciated Zanella's ability to balance great classical ballet masterpieces with his original creations and neo-classical repertoire. He also offered young dancers and choreographers from his corps de ballet a chance to express themselves through their own work and paid careful attention to the training of the next generation of ballet dancers at the Vienna State Opera Ballet School, which he led from 2001 to 2005. In addi-tion to the regular ballet education, he also started an intensive and inclusive programme that he has been cultivating to this day, both at the national and international levels. From September 2011 to December 2015, he was Ballet Director at the Greek National Opera, from 2013 to 2015, at the Arena di Verona and from September 2016 to December 2017, at the Bucharest National Ballet. In 2018, he was invited by the Mayor of St. Pölten to establish a specific educational programme for dancers. The Choreo Center Europe is an international academic platform for young choreographers, working in collaboration with the Europabal-lett and the Academy of Music and Art. In 2021, General Manager Staš Ravter appointed him Artistic Director of the Ballet at the SNG Opera in balet Ljubljana. In 2009, Zanella branched out into a new field of artistic endeavour by staging operas. His first staging of Mozart's opera Così fan tutte at the Attersee Klassik Festival received excellent reviews from the public and critics. In 2010, he directed the productions of Carmen, Traviata, Me-dea and Electra at the International Festival of the Aegean in Greece, followed by Sicilian Vespers and Faust at the Greek National Opera, The Merry Widow, Cavalleria rustica-na and The Bat in Mannheim, Verona and Tirana. In 1995, the Italian dance magazine Dan-za&Danza awarded him with the title of the Best Italian Choreographer Abroad. In 2000, he received the Gino Tani International Award as Artist of the Year in Rome. In 2001, he was given the Jakob Prandtauer Award in St. Pölten. The same year, as well as in 2007, the Dan-za&Danza magazine acknowledged his work at the Vienna State Opera with the distinction of the Best Artistic Director. In 2001, the President of the Republic of Austria honoured him with the Cross of Honour for the Sciences and Arts, and in 2010, with the title of Professor for his career and social activities in Austria and abroad. In July 2021, the artist was present-ed with one of the most prestigious Italian lifetime achievement awards Premio AcquiDan-za, for his highly valued artistic journey. Renato Zanella defines himself and his work as a result of curiosity and addiction to ceaseless experiencing of new things and meeting per-sonalities and talents, from which he draws his inexhaustible inspiration.
Since the beginning of his mandate as Artistic Director of the Ballet, he has created for our ensemble a ballet diptych Dunajski večer (Viennese Evening), which premiered in co-production with Cankarjev dom on the stage of the Gallus Hall; as a choreographer he par-ticipated in the opera and ballet evening, dedicated to Stravinsky, he also choreographed a new production of Romeo and Juliet, the diptych Love as well as Ritual/Sacre and Bolero.

Last updated in December 2023